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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Carly Fiorina Endorses Ted Cruz; Trump Crushing His Opponents; Sanders' Come-From-Behind Win in Michigan; Florida is Do-or-Die for Rubio. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired March 9, 2016 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[11:00:26] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan, live from Miami, Florida, the site of two crucial debates on both sides of this unpredictable presidential race.

Tonight, the Democrats face off after Bernie Sanders pulled off a stunning win.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman, in New York.

We'll get back to Kate in a moment.

First, we have breaking news from the campaign trail on the Republican side. Just moments ago, Ted Cruz traveled to the heart of Marco Rubio country, Miami. And he pulled out a surprise endorsement. Former presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina, took the stage and said she is squarely behind Ted Cruz. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLY FIORINA (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are two sides of the same coin.

(CHEERING)

FIORINA: They are not going to reform the system. They are the system.

(CHEERING)

FIORINA: So when the establishment says Ted Cruz is too conservative, too much of a fighter, he won't get along, I say, you go, Ted.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So that just happened a few minutes ago.

Before that, the other big news on the Republican side of the race was essentially vulnerable Donald Trump ending up crushing the crowd in Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii. Ted Cruz did pick up a win in Idaho, and Marco Rubio this morning is this picking up the pieces after a just awful, awful night.

The action is focused on Florida and Idaho, winner-take-all states, next week. The last poll showed Donald Trump leading in both of those states. The delegate math right now working in his favor. But Ted Cruz, who picked up that big endorsement, he's in second place, clearly, right now, the chief rival to Donald Trump. Clearly, with a powerful new endorsement from Carly Fiorina and it happened just moments ago.

Let's talk about more with Justin Phillips. He's the founder and president of Tea Party Nation and a ted Cruz supporter.

Mr. Phillips, great to see you again. Thank you for coming on.

The Carly Fiorina endorsement, what does it mean?

JUDSON PHILLIPS, FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, TEA PARTY NATION: It mean as lot. It shows some strength for the Cruz campaign, the fact that people are coming into the campaign. Former rivals are realizing, OK, we've got a choice, either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Who do we want? A guy who is a consistent. That's Ted Cruz. We don't want a guy who is part of the problem, a guy who brags about buying politicians. Honestly, if you're bragging about buying politicians, you really need an indictment, not a nomination.

BERMAN: You're talking about Donald Trump. Ted Cruz is obviously running against Donald Trump but also running against Marco Rubio. I can't help but notice the site of this endorsement, Miami, the hometown of Marco Rubio. What should we make of that?

PHILLIPS: Well, it's a show of strength in Rubio's backyard. And honestly, you know, god bless Marco Rubio, great guy. But he needs to have a reality check right now. He is not going to be the nominee. He's not going to be the 45th president of the United States. If he means what he says about Donald Trump, all those things he said about Donald Trump, if he truly means that, the only way to do that is to bow out of the race and endorse Ted Cruz. That's what he needs to do.

BERMAN: Ted Cruz says the other people in the race -- John Kasich and Marco Rubio -- need to prayerfully reconsider their future. You're beyond that. Are you calling on other leaders in the conservative movement, maybe even other elected officials to call on Marco Rubio to get out of the race?

PHILLIPS: Absolutely. I think that's what needs to be done. He needs to step out and consider his future as well because, if he gets crushed in Florida, he doesn't have a political future. And it goes back, if his core values the things he's saying about Donald Trump, there is only one way to stop Donald Trump. The second choice is Ted Cruz. Not Donald Trump. So if those people were to leave Rubio because he drops out of the race, come over to Ted Cruz, then it's really a neck-and-neck race.

And let's talk another thing on numbers. I crunched the numbers this morning. Of the remaining delegates that are left, Donald Trump needs to win 54 percent of those in order to clinch the nomination. Ted Cruz needs to win 61 percent. If he gets the Rubio support, which is a natural constituency for him, it suddenly is a real neck-and-neck race and I think Senator Cruz pulls ahead and wins this.

BERMAN: Justin, you're a key figure in the Tea Party movement, which is all about having your voice be heard, don't tread on us. Are you ready to sit here and say right now that if Donald Trump does end up with the most delegates heading into the convention, maybe not a majority, but the most, that he should get the nomination? I mean, do you think that all of this talk in the contested convention goes too far?

[11:05:18] PHILLIPS: No, I don't think it all goes too far. Where it does go too far is if you talk about establishment figures stepping in to take the race away from the two top candidates, such as throwing a Mitt Romney out there, then, yeah, that goes way too far. That's stealing the election. And you know what? That's suicide for the Republican Party. If somebody like Mitt Romney or some other establishment figure comes in, and in a contested convention or brokered convention, whichever term you want to use, and they take this away from Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, because those are the two that by the time the convention goes around will have earned the most delegates, at that point it's the suicide of the Republican party. The Trump people will leave, justifiably so. They will be angry. I think a lot of Cruz supporters will be angry as well, and they may well walk away from the GOP.

BERMAN: Thank you so much for being with us, Judson Phillips.

Again, the big news.

PHILLIPS: John, thanks for having me.

BERMAN: You just saw it. We just called it. A big moment. Carly Fiorina endorsing Ted Cruz in Miami.

That is where we find Kate Bolduan right now.

Hey, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Hey there, John.

Let's continue that discussion exactly, about that Carly Fiorina endorsement of Ted Cruz. Here we me to discuss is CNN political commentator, Matt Lewis, a senior contributor for "The Daily Caller; and Kayleigh McEnany, a conservative columnist and a Donald Trump supporter; and soon to be joining us, Ana Navarro, a friend of Marco Rubio as well as she had endorsed and backed Jeb Bush when he was running.

Guys, let's discuss.

Kayleigh, Carly Fiorina was making this endorsement, you were sitting right here, and one thing she said that will be played over and over again is she said Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton are two sides of the same coin. They are the system.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST & COMMENTATOR: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: And I'll tell you this. I'm sure Donald Trump still would have enjoyed having her endorsement, right?

MCENANY: Yeah, of course. You want an endorsement by any of your colleagues who stood on the debate stage with you, absolutely.

That being said, I found it so interesting that Cruz and Fiorina are perpetuating this Donald Trump as an insider. He's never held a position in politics. He's an outsider. He's been a business man his whole life. He has donated to Democrats. Of course, as have most people who have built $10 billion brands. They donate to both parties. It's part of what you do when you run a business. So it's rather comical they try to paint him as an insider. I don't think that's going to take them very far.

BOLDUAN: But Ted Cruz supporters believe this will have an impact because they think it shows Ted Cruz is bringing people into the campaign, getting more people on board, he's gaining steam.

What do you think, Matt?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Cruz is not really trying to beat Donald Trump but to become the non-Trump candidate. And he's trying to get everyone to coalesce around him. That's why he does this endorsement in Marco Rubio's home town right before the Florida primary. I think clearly there are two mainstream movement conservatives in this race, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. And the sense now is that Ted Cruz is much more likely to be the last man standing against Donald Trump. So I don't think this Fiorina endorsement matters. I don't think she brings a lot of voters with her. It's a sign that Cruz is gaining momentum and the coalescing could begin among conservatives going maybe sometimes reluctantly to Cruz.

BOLDUAN: Maybe a psychological win. At this point, a psychological win is a very big victory --

LEWIS: Yep.

BOLDUAN: -- when it comes to this.

Ana Navarro joining us, the crowd goes wild.

Hello, my dear.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is called Miami time.

(LAUGHTER)

I'm not going to say Cuban time, then Cubans start pretending that they're punctual.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: I did say you liked a dramatic entrance and that you did get.

NAVARRO: Welcome to my ala mater and to my city.

BOLDUAN: I love it so much.

Let's talk about last night. Trump -- I'm going to steal a line from my dear friend John Berman -- vulnerable shmunerable. After every big voting day, can Donald Trump be stopped?

NAVARRO: Yes. Nothing is set in stone in politics until it's set in stone. So a lot of things can happen between now and election. He does not have a clear path yet to 1237. The anti-Trump camp has to coalesce. It's time to come to grips and deal with the reality that there is one emerging alternative to Donald Trump and his name is Ted Cruz. There is only one person who has beat Donald Trump. And it is Ted Cruz. And I think, you know, he's now won seven states. He's close to him on the delegates. And I think what you're seeing, for example, with this Carly Fiorina endorsement, I agree with Matt, it doesn't bring a lot but it does show folks who are anti-Trump are beginning to see Cruz as that alternative and they are going to put --

(CROSSTALK)

[11:10:15] LEWIS: But I would say that coalescing should happen on March 14th. If Donald Trump is to be stopped from winning the 1237 delegates that he needs, it happens with Rubio winning Florida and Kasich winning Ohio. That's the best scenario. Whereby Ted Cruz -- I think Cruz could actually become and emerge from a brokered or contested convention. Because the base -- if there's a sense that Donald Trump has stolen this from him, the only person you could potentially turn to that might be palatable to the base would be Ted Cruz.

BOLDUAN: And someone who actually won delegates?

LEWIS: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: And the thing is, Ted Cruz was rather unpalatable, to use your word, to many of us until a couple of days ago.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: He's growing on me.

MCENANY: Ted Cruz, it's increasingly hard for him. I have a hard time seeing Ted Cruz win New York and Connecticut and a place like Florida. It gets harder for him. That being said, he did win Maine. He performed well in Michigan. I was taken aback. He was tied with Kasich. That was an impressive win. And he's turning to this populist message of, I know those people with the hardworking hands and that does appeal in those states. It gets harder. It's not impossible. But I don't think it's possible.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: But the way he wins is from people like me.

LEWIS: Yeah.

NAVARRO: I couldn't deal with the idea of Ted Cruz 10 days ago, but right now --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Like a Lindsey Graham. Like an Ana Navarro.

Ana, you're a friend of Marco Rubio. You've known him a long time. It was a bad night for him. He ended up with zero delegates. That's where the estimate remains right now. He's polling behind right now in Florida in the latest CNN polls and the latest polls. What do you say to your friend Marco Rubio?

NAVARRO: I think he's got to hang on to Florida. He's put all of the eggs in the basket and it's not just about saving his candidacy. I think it's about saving his dignity. It's less about reaching the 1237. At this point, the reality is that it's mathematically impossible for Marco to reach the delegate needed to be a nominee.

BOLDUAN: Ana, that's a big statement coming from you.

NAVARRO: I went to law school because I couldn't do math but I know enough math to know he can't reach 1237. But I do think Marco has got to stay in. He owes it to the people of Florida and his supporters. He had a lot of organization in this state and he's going to stay in. I have zero doubt. I've known that man for 25 years. This idea that he may not be staying in from Florida cuts against the grain of everything that I know about him, his advisers and organization and his family, his faith. I think Marco is going to stay in stay strong. Watch for him in the debate tomorrow because whenever his back has been against the wall, he's done very well. He'd have to almost levitate tomorrow on that stage to --

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: -- to change the momentum.

LEWIS: But I wouldn't count him out in Florida. I agree he can't win the nomination. But he can win Florida, 99 delegates.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: -- that the polls were wildly wrong.

BOLDUAN: I'm telling you, Marco Rubio is definitely hoping for a Sanders surprise. Let's be honest about that.

Great to see you.

Ana, thank you so much for joining us.

(LAUGHTER)

Thanks, you guys.

A big programming night. A huge night tonight for the Democrats running for president. At 9:00 eastern, CNN simulcasts the Democratic presidential debate hosted by Univision. And then tomorrow, as we just discussed, it's a CNN GOP presidential debate in Miami, Florida, right here in this beautiful city, just days ahead of the gigantic primary contest here.

Now to the other stunner of the campaign. Bernie Sanders shocking Hillary Clinton in Michigan, pulling off a win just before their debate tonight. I'm going to speak live with his campaign manager about how to harness the momentum going forward.

Plus, a scary twist in the case of a man suspected of shooting a pastor who, the day before, had been speaking at a Ted Cruz rally. That man has been arrested outside the White House. Details ahead.

This is CNN's special coverage live in Miami.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:18:22] BOLDUAN: Coming to you live from the beautiful campus from the University of Miami, Florida. The faceoff between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, it is now just hours away, fresh off a huge night for Sanders, his surprising come-from-behind victory in Michigan. The Vermont Senator narrowly edging out Clinton. And defying all of the polls and most of the pundits leading up to it. Clinton though did crush Sanders in Mississippi. Her win there further increasing her delegate lead. Despite those numbers, Sanders seems the one with the wind at his back.

Talk about the wind at his back -- and no need help smiling this morning -- his campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, is here.

Jeff, great to see you. Thanks for coming in.

JEFF WEAVER, BERNIE SANDERS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Kate, nice to be here.

BOLDUAN: Surprised a lot of folks last night, what happened in Michigan?

WEAVER: The whole CNN panel, for sure.

BOLDUAN: Everyone fell on the floor and passed out.

What surprised you most about last night?

WEAVER: I think Senator Sanders really closed strong in Michigan. I think we've seen that in state after state. A lot of our states he's won by double digits. A week ahead of time, he was down in the polls. So the more people hear and see Bernie Sanders and his message, talking about rebuilding the middle class, they respond.

BOLDUAN: But when you look at the math, it is, yes, a big win, and a psychological win is just as important right now. But when you look at the map, that's the thing that matters at the end of the day. She's still continuing to increase her lead in terms of delegates.

WEAVER: Right. But you have to look -- we get through March 15th, we have five big states coming up, the delegates will have been chosen. If you look at the calendar going forward from there, it gets increasingly positive percents for Sanders. He's won states by double digits across the country, sometimes by 30 or more points. A lot of states that look like those states will be coming up. And those margins are going to allow him to eat into that delegate lead. She was very strong in the south, she was first lady of Arkansas, has relationships there. But we're almost out of southern states. And outside of the south, Hillary Clinton has yet to win convincingly anywhere.

[11:20:14] BOLDUAN: Sanders said last night he believes the strongest states are yet to come. That's exactly what he said.

WEAVER: Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

WEAVER: I think we're going to do well up and down the West coast. I think we're going to win California, Oregon, Washington. We're going to fight in New York. That's going to be a big showdown state in this. Wisconsin we'll do very well. There are six states after March 15th in March, Arizona, Utah, Idaho.

BOLDUAN: All of them.

WEAVER: All those states. We're doing really well in Arizona. The map looks so much better for him after March 15th. It was really front-loaded for her.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you, one bit of good news from last night, when you look at to the exit polls, it looks like you had your biggest support from the African-American community in Michigan.

WEAVER: Absolutely. Yes.

BOLDUAN: The exit polls show Africa-Americans went for Clinton in Michigan, 65 to 31 percent. I have heard Bernie Sanders speak last night, reaching out, trying to reach out in the African-American community.

WEAVER: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: But she's still beating him, 65-31.

WEAVER: That's true. We need to do more work. If you look at young African-Americans, it was basically split between Sanders and Secretary Clinton. That's an amazing, amazing amount of progress that he has made in reaching out to the African-American community. And also a lot had to do with Michigan. The black middle class in Michigan was really destroyed by these trade deals that Hillary Clinton supported and the deindustrialization that followed, and they know that Bernie Sanders was the person who stood with them for decades against these bad trade deals.

BOLDUAN: Talk about -- you're a huge fan of polls now. Let's talk about the newest polls out from CNN in two key states, here in Florida and Ohio. Clinton in Ohio is up 30 points.

WEAVER: OK.

BOLDUAN: Clinton in Florida is up 27 points.

WEAVER: OK.

BOLDUAN: What do you think?

WEAVER: She was up 30 points in Michigan a week and a half ago.

BOLDUAN: Do you think the same exact thing will happen? Do you think you can pull out wins in Ohio and Florida?

WEAVER: I don't know if we'll win everywhere but we are going to have wins on March 15th. There's no doubt about it. These five states, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, and we'll win some of those states.

BOLDUAN: Do you believe these polls?

WEAVER: No.

BOLDUAN: You don't believe these polls? What do you think it's going to be?

WEAVER: I think the race is much closer than that.

BOLDUAN: Single digits?

WEAVER: Nationally or these states?

BOLDUAN: These states.

WEAVER: It varies from state to state. We're stronger in some states than others. I can't give away the secrets.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: That's what I'm asking for, obviously.

WEAVER: State secrets, yes.

BOLDUAN: Even before last night, Hillary Clinton said on the stump one line that I've been repeating because it was really telling. She said, the sooner she becomes the nominee, the sooner she can turn her focus to the Republicans.

WEAVER: We feel the same way. The sooner Bernie Sanders is the nominee, the sooner he can turn his attention to the Republicans.

Look, all of the polling shows consistently against all of the Republicans Bernie Sanders does better against them than Hillary Clinton does. That's just the fact in the polling. They are not my polls. So I think Democrats have to be really concerned that if you nominate Hillary Clinton -- look at Michigan, a state where she was ahead and lost. When Donald Trump goes there and talks about her devastatingly bad deal on trade, his observation about what she did in terms of supporting these trade deals which destroyed the economies in Michigan, in places like Ohio and Illinois, where the furniture industry all went to China, that's going to be a devastating attack against her, against which she has no defense.

You saw the debate the other night. Her only defense was to create a dishonest attack, which has been widely criticized, saying that Bernie Sanders did not support rescuing the auto industry when in fact he voted to rescue the auto industry. She has no response for why she allowed corporate interests to sell out America and ship our jobs overseas.

BOLDUAN: I can expect that very similar message is something that resonates with voters in Michigan.

WEAVER: It resonates because it affects people's lives directly.

BOLDUAN: Jeff Weaver, great to see you.

WEAVER: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

All right. The pundits think Florida is a must-win for Marco Rubio. It seems the voters here thinking so as well. Surprising results in our brand new poll ahead.

Plus, news just in, the Republican National Committee is now suing for access for information between Hillary Clinton and her associates. I'm going to speak live with the RNC about this breaking news and what is behind this new lawsuit.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:28:56] BERMAN: All right. The Republican race looks so different this morning. Donald Trump extended his delegate lead. Now there's new polling showing him with strong wins at his back heading into Florida, Ohio, winner-take-all states, next week. 367 delegates at stake total on March 15th. As I just said, the biggie is Florida and Ohio, winner-take-all.

Moment ago, Ted Cruz held a rally in Miami, the heart of Marco Rubio country. What did he do? He unveiled a surprising endorsement. Carly Fiorina fully behind Ted Cruz. Clearly, the Cruz campaign smells some blood in the water when it

comes to Marco Rubio who had a brutal night. As we sit here right now, I don't think Marco Rubio won one delegate in those four contests last night. Could win one in Hawaii, but that's not very much.

Joining me to discuss, Rosemary O'Hara, the editor for the Florida "Sun-Sentinel" and a Ted Cruz super PAC backer. Kellyanne Conway, Republican pollster and president of a polling company and a Ted Cruz super PAC backer. Also with us, Susan Delpursio (ph), former Rudy Giuliani administration official and senior adviser and spokesperson for the Committee to Draft Speaker Ryan as President.

If only we had time to talk about that, but we don't.

(LAUGHTER)

Rosemary, I want to talk with you.

In Florida right now, lot of talk about what Marco Rubio should or shouldn't do after this really bad night for him. What happens to his career going forward in your state if he doesn't win Florida?

You know, it has all unraveled so quickly. He has bet everything on winning here and yet, as you point out, the latest polls show him down 20 percentage points to Trump.